Tag Archives: Rastafarian
Elton told me no one had ever taken photos of his dread locks before. He normally keeps them tucked away in a dark blue knit cap, at work and when walking around his village, Maskall.
When I first saw him, well before my first horseriding class, I felt something special about him (all right, besides the fact that he is not so hard on the eyes). When I did meet him, he was genuine, kind and tried his best to alleviate my fear of horses (that’s not ever happening by the way).
While we rode through the back rainforest of Maruba Resort, directing my horse and his, we talked about Ethiopia, his Rastafarian faith and his mixed Garifuna and Creole heritage.
I was relieved to be off that horse after an hour but I knew I couldn’t leave without capturing him. I explained to him that I was collecting portraits of Belizeans for a special project called “Faces of Belize” to showcase Belize’s diversity. That I wanted to include him and that I only photographed people who somehow touched my spirit. He was more than willing. “Anything I can do to help,” were his words.
A few minutes into our shoot he removed the cap, as if he had wanted to do that for a while, letting his locks down and posing for photos for the first time in his life in the hot sun and for as long as I needed.
This is an outtake from the shoot. The final one I picked for my “Faces of Belize” project has yet to be released, along with the remaining 15 portraits. I will share my plans for those in the near future.
“Don’t care where you come from
As long as you’re a black man
You’re an African
No mind your nationality, You have got the identity of an African
‘Cause if you come Trinidad
And if you come from Nassau
And if you come from Cuba
You’re an African”
~ Peter Tosh, “African“
Sunday, February 27, 2011 ~ Jamaicans flocked from around the island to the town of Belmont, in southern Jamaica, to celebrate the late, great, Peter Tosh. Peter Tosh is considered by many to be as legendary an artist as his fellow Wailers band member Bob Marley, and many even believe that while Tosh received far less recognition for his talent, he was the one who revolutionized reggae and taught Marley all that he knew. Just on the heels of the island-wide Bob Marley birthday bashes in February, this free concert and festival was held at the Peter Tosh Memorial site and hosted by the radio station Irie FM.
It was a day full of Rastafarian vibes, with beautiful African costumes all around (mostly Ethiopian traditional clothes and colors, and some in West African ones). A general spirit and ambience of love and unity. It’s really the root of why I love Jamaica more than any other Caribbean island – because I am reminded of where I come from when I am here, and because it is appreciated. Because this island more than any other, discusses and celebrates its African roots. Jamaicans (those of African ancestry) don’t ignore where they come from; they don’t pretend to have been to Africa either and many can’t afford it, but they wish that one day they could go and see. Many read or educate themselves, somehow. Like the saying goes, you can’t know who you are or where you’re going unless you know where you come from.
So when there’s an African celebration somewhere – I strive to find a way to go and capture it because I, too, am an African. Born and raised. I treasure the advantage and blessing of experiencing and growing in my background and culture. It makes me who I am today. And in a time when many people still don’t know what Africa is like, or where it is, or assume it is a “hell hole” – even in 2011 – I feel like I must share our culture, through my lens. New York Times photographer and author Chester Higgins, Jr., whom a friend introduced me to, once advised me to “shoot what makes my heart smile.”
This is one of those things that makes me smile… capturing the spirit of an African.
More images from the Peter Tosh Tribute day will be posted on my Flickr stream.